31 Days to Scare ~ Hypnotic (2021)


The Facts:

Synopsis: A young woman seeking self-improvement enlists the help of a renowned hypnotist but, after a handful of intense sessions, discovers unexpected and deadly consequences.

Stars: Kate Siegel, Jason O’Mara, Dulé Hill, Lucie Guest, Jaime M. Callica, Darien Martin, Luc Roderique

Director: Suzanne Coote and Matt Angel

Rated: NR

Running Length: 88 minutes

TMMM Score: (5/10)

Review: I spent way too much time during the new Netflix thriller Hypnotic wondering if leading actress Kate Siegel (The Haunting of Bly Manor) was wearing a wig.  Time I should have been spending focused on the story and characters, but the film tends to skimp in those areas to such a degree that I kept coming back to that darn wig. 

We’re supposed to understand at the beginning of the film that Siegel’s character Jenn is feeling lost in life, having suffered a miscarriage, separating from her fiancé (Jaime M. Callica), and just generally not knowing what direction her life isgoing in.  This manifests itself in her hair outwardly displaying the inner turmoil she’s experiencing.  After being introduced to handsome Dr. Collin Meade (Jason O’Mara, One for the Money) at a housewarming party and agreeing to a hypnotherapy session with him, Jenn starts to pull herself together.  After three months, her hair game is TRESemmé chic and she’s even warming to the idea of patching things up with her former flame. Then her phone rings and she wakes up hours later to…a bad situation.

Hair seems to be an important topic of Hypnotic…and not just in this review.  Another patient of the mysterious Dr. Meade has an issue with hair, and we’ll come to learn that three of Meade’s previous patients bear a striking resemblance to his late wife…and all have died under mysterious circumstances.  Guess who they all look like as well?  As Jenn’s close circle of support begins to dwindle under suspicious circumstances, she looks deeper into her hypnotist’s past and uncovers a danger she has little control over.  Enlisting the help of an already case-curious detective (Dulé Hill), Jenn will need to figure out the end game before the doctor can get close enough to exert his power.

It’s always a bit discouraging to see actors you like (Siegel has been so consistent in every project) struggle with substandard material and Hypnotic is very middle of the road stuff.  It’s well made and far above average in the casting department, but the whole thing has the whiff of a project everyone made just to keep the lights on at their home.  No one seems that invested in the outcome and that lack of true conviction winds up showing up across the board. 

Perhaps it’s because the script from Richard D’Ovidio is a little thin and a lot silly, putting the onus on the actors to fill in too many gaps in the narrative with some overly earnest theatrics that put them at risk for straying into overacting.  Or maybe directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote just never get the tone quite correct.  There are admittedly a few nice scenes, and one truly unsettling reveal of a hiding place but add it all up and it’s only halfway there.

I won’t use the power of suggestion to nudge you either way toward Hypnotic or not, but if the actors appeal to you and a B+ production of a C+ script sounds like your cup of tea for the evening then by all means, have at it.  Be warned though, you may find yourself getting sleepy…very sleepy.